Home Affairs Committee

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:23 pm on 21st July 2022.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham 12:23 pm, 21st July 2022

As one of the members of the Committee who has sat through every evidence session over the very prolonged period of this report, I welcome its findings. I did not disagree with anything the right hon. Lady said until her peroration. May I pick up on just two points? It was, indeed, unfortunate that the Home Secretary was, yet again, unable to come before our Committee so that we could discuss some of the findings and the Home Office’s latest policy.

On the question of Rwanda, as the right hon. Lady has said, the investigation happened well before the Rwanda policy was actually produced, and yet the headlines of the report seemed to focus on the Rwanda scheme not appearing to be working. Can she confirm that we did agree within the report that it is too early to judge in any case, and that there is evidence of people smugglers encouraging potential migrants to get on with the crossing, which has caused something of a spike because of the changes that the Government are bringing in. Therefore, the jury is absolutely out on that, and it should not be construed otherwise.

Secondly, will the right hon. Lady reiterate—I think this was one of the most important parts of the report—our recommendation that there should at least be pilots for the return of better safe and legal routes, including for a limited number of asylum seekers who are more likely to be successful in coming to the UK? That would enable applications to be made in France, or other European countries, but on the strict understanding that if they failed, the French authorities would take action to remove those people, so that they do not just return to the Calais beaches to make another attempt, as happens currently. Those are the two important points I wished to highlight in this otherwise exceedingly welcome report.